See No Evil

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17 Responses

  1. Bob Miller says:

    “We can forgive Barack Obama his supercilious, humorless persona.” I could, if he was only cilious.

  2. Gil says:

    I think you miss a key point Mr. Kobre

    Obama (and McCain as well) are perfectly capable of confronting evil. What you interpret is inability, is in reality just a different way to do so. If you want to question effectiveness feel free, that is a valid point.

    However, I encourage you to think about how much our kicking and screaming about the evilness of Hammas has contributed towards making Israel a safe place for its inhabitants (not to say that being upset about Hammas is unjustified).

    What Hammas knows better than most is not Senator Obama, but us. It knows that playing to our fears is the easiest way to control us and empower itself. Perhaps that is something that we should reflect on.

  3. B. A. says:

    Mr Kobre,

    You deserve a tremendous y’yasher koach for your article–notwithstanding the comments by ‘Gil’. As any student of politics can tell you, there is no doubt that Obama is incapable of recognizing, let alone, confronting evil.

    Arab radicals know that they stand a much better chance of havingtheir way with us with a liberal novice in office. Add the fact that his pastor has spoken, from the pulpit, words of hate against the United States. Consider as well the candidacy of a senator with 143 days’ experience in the Senate prior to announcing his decision to run for the highest office.

    We have the makings of a tremendous disaster for the United States, and for Israel.

  4. Ori says:

    Gil, do you think Israel would be better off if Hammas got the foreign aid that the Fatah government used to get? Or do you think that making public the evil of Hammas has any other effects? People in the territories and in Israel already know it.

  5. David N. Friedman says:

    The choice here is pretty clear. One position 1) acknowledges the existence of evil. 2) identifies evil 3)confronts evil so as to save innocents. Another strategy 1) ignores the existence of evil, 2) focuses on moral relativism, 3) believes that compassion, sensitivity training and financial aid will defeat the alleged roots of terror.

    Eytan Kobre is correct. Obama is the kind of guy not willing to ask Fatah why it supports the release of Kuntar because he lacks moral courage and because Obama alleges to know the answer to everything. At a time when Israel is facing a war for its survival, Obama prefers the second strategy of catering to the alleged sensitivities of the terrorists.

    An Obama administration endangers us all since we are facing an evil that sees only America and Israel in its way. American voters are reluctant to elect a President soft on moral conviction and this is perhaps the only reason an ineffective leader such as President Bush has been elected twice. It seems the voters are second guessing themselves and beginning to think that the price of leading the world is too high– as Obama’s call to knock our nation down is resonating.

    This is tragic.

  6. Chaim Fisher says:

    Eytan Kobre warns us that Obama will provide the “carte blanche needed by Hamas and Iran and all the other evildoers” in their campaign against us, but his proof of this accusation is sorely wanting. He bases it on some articles in the NYT, which he claims represents Obama’s personal thinking because he believes it to be “the unofficial print media organ” of his campaign, and on an article Obama wrote about the perpetrators of 9/11.

    This is flimsy or non-existent evidence that relies on immense and undocumented leaps of logic, hardly the kind of support necessary to attack a presidential candidate. And he leaves out facts on the ground for the other side, which are:

    1. As far as Hamas is concerned, last week Obama personally visited Sderot to declare his solidarity with them against Hamas, and refused to speak to Hamas.

    2. He totally opposed Iran getting the bomb and called for all steps possible to make sure it did not happen; he totally supported the Jewish state.

    Everyone is free to vote for whomever they feel comfortable with, and I really have no problem with someone choosing McCain over Obama for all kinds of reasons.

    But if this is the best reasoning he has, Kobre makes a very weak case indeed.

  7. Charles B. Hall says:

    If the distinctions are so great, how come Obama’s positions on Land for Peace, a Palestinian State, and negotiations with Iraq are now identical to those of the Bush administration?

    It also might be worth asking why so much of the American public, which expresses very little anti-Semitism and is truly friendly towards Israel, does not seem to care. Think of it: The United States was ATTACKED by Islamic fundamentalists, yet a very substantial portion of the public believes that there isn’t really a threat, and that the supposed threat was simply used by the party in power by scaring the public in order to reward its supporters. By comparison, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson abandoned their domestic agendas when they realized that HaShem had made them the leaders of this country in wartime, and all three raised taxes to finance the war effort. President Bush would have done better to ask Americans to make sacrifices to confront this evil, but instead he promoted more tax cuts and special interest giveaways.

    Furthermore one must ask what “confronting” this evil would entail. There is no realistic possibility of sustained military action against Iran because the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the US military stretched to its limits and the US treasury empty. (I’m not writing anything the Iranian Mullahs don’t know; they are dangerous extremists, but they aren’t stupid.) The government has responded by (figuratively) printing money to pay its bills, depreciating the currency (as I discovered the hard way on a recent trip to Europe). As a result the wealth of America has substantially declined relative to that of the rest of the world, as has its influence. Either Obama or McCain will have to deal with that reality and will not be able to act unilaterally regardless of the threat. (Neither will either be able to carry out his promises regarding Iraq; Obama will not be able to withdraw quickly less a bloodbath ensue, and McCain will not be able to maintain an open ended involvement less he bankrupt the United States.)

    I consider this all to be a tragedy.

    With this record, it is no wonder that people are looking for change, from whatever direction. The amazing thing is that McCain has made it a competitive race at all and could possibly win, although the odds at the moment are long. I suspect though that he will not win unless he can make greater distinctions between what he will do and the failed policies of the current administration, but to this date he has instead moved closer to their positions than he has been in the past.

  8. LOberstein says:

    Wow! I guess you won’t be asked to give a nominating speech for Obama at the Democratic Convention. I personally am planning(at the moment and bli neder) to vote for McCain, however, I understand why so many people will vote for Barak. He may not be ready to be President and the fact that he won the nomination is a tribute not only to his talent but to the ineptitude of the many other people who sought the nomination.
    There are many good reasons not to vote for Obama, not the least of which is an unease about thedepth of his committment to Israel. However, most people think he will win and that he will be the President, so let’s hope your total demolition of him is overblown. I hope that the sky won’t fall if the voters choose a mixed race candidate who exemplifies that America is ready to move past the racial bigotry and hatred that causes so many problems all over the planet, especially in the Middle East. Maybe, people want Obama because they want to move past the ethnic,racial, religious divides and make the world a better place. Maybe , electing Obama will help America reclaim its pride and its place among the nations after 8 years of disaster under the current President. Eytan Kobre may be right but I pray he is wrong.

  9. Ori says:

    Charles B. Hall, whether is US is more or less capable of attacking Iran now than in 2001 is not such a trivial question:

    On the less side:

    1. US forces are stretched because of the need to keep troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    2. The US has economic problems – although I doubt these problems are bad enough they affect the ability to keep the military supplied.

    On the more side:

    1. US forces are better trained, having had real fighting experience recently.

    2. In 2001 the US would have had to attack Iran by landing somewhere along the coast. Now the US has bases in Iraq, and can use the 911 mile Iran-Iraq border to launch an attack.

    3. If at all possible, the US would prefer to use an aerial attack against the Iranian nuclear program instead of ground combat. The US has far better technology, which affects air power more than ground power. In 2001 the US would have had to attack from a carrier (with the limited capacity of an aircraft carrier), get permission from Turkey/Kuwait/Saudi, or attack from Israel and have limited time on target because of fuel concerns. Now the US has military airports in neighboring Iraq.

    I lack the military expertise to judge which of these factors count for more. I’ll post it on a board that is frequented by members of the military and see what they say.

  10. One Christian's perspective says:

    American voters are reluctant to elect a President soft on moral conviction and this is perhaps the only reason an ineffective leader such as President Bush has been elected twice.

    Comment by David N. Friedman

    Why is it, one wonders, that the President gets the stain of an ineffective Congress and Senate whose approval ratings fall below those of the President. Yes, a new President can be elected every 4 years but why is it that we turn our cheek away from the inactions and misdeeds of the professional politicians who have stopped caring for the needs of the people who elected them. A moral President can be crippled by an immoral Senate and Congress. Our nation is paying the price for poor election choices. Perhaps, the time has come for the next election to have far sweeping results that go deeper than the Office of the President.

  11. Ori says:

    OK, I asked some military people and got additional factors for us being less able to attack Iran today than in 2001.

    1. The counter-insurgency operations the military has been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan are bad training for fighting a regular army, as would be the case in Iran.

    2. The US military is more vulnerable to Iranian ground troops (in Iraq or Afghanistan) than in 2001 when there were no US troops in the vicinity.

    These factors come from people who support the current US policy of fighting in both Afghanistan and Iraq, so their bias would be towards “more able”. I therefore retract my previous comment.

  12. Moshe Z. Orlowick says:

    Charles Hall, your last paragraph is very instructive. You first write, “With this record, it is no wonder that people are looking for change, from whatever direction.” I think you are mistaking your personal candidate’s campaign slogan with an actual fact! Obama has selected “a campaign for change” as his slogan. There is no evidence whatsoever to show that “people” are looking for change, other than the constitutionally required new president.

    Then, “The amazing thing is that McCain has made it a competitive race at all and could possibly win, although the odds at the moment are long. I suspect though that he will not win . . .” From your perch in the Bronx, I’ve no doubt you think Obama will win. Lots of Liberals thought Kerry was for sure going to win in 04. When all your neighbors think the same, it’s easy to think that everyone thinks the same too. (I dont mean only liberals, by the way. In certain red states I’m sure they think it will be cakewalk for McCain too. I personally am pretty sure McCain will win the popular vote, but the electoral vote will be decently close.)

    Finally, you write “unless he can make greater distinctions between what he will do and the failed policies of the current administration, . . .” The inability to distinguish between Bush and McCain is a big reason the democrats seem primed for another defeat. Bear in mind that Bush is only unpopular because he isnt conservative enough. (It’s not the war – the war itself was and is continues to be debateable.) That the democrats hate him the same way the republicans hated Clinton is not a sign of unpopularity.

  13. David N. Friedman says:

    Charles Hall fails to appreciate the fact that our government spends a whole heck of a lot of money on things other than national defense and that the price of another terror attack to our economy is many times greater than an effort to prevent another attack. Further, our bloated budget and poor national priorities which include many tens of billions of dollars in duplication, pork, and unnecessary programs such as the reckless Social Security monster is robbing our children of the ability to save for their own retirements by making sure the government does it for them. Why not save some criticism for the fact that our government steals money for its own desires to pay for “programs” and rips off the taxpayer, few of which get any kind of fair return for the money which has been stolen from their paychecks. These funds are many, many more times our budget for this time-limited war in Iraq which has been a justifiable use of our scarce resources. It is very true that the Bush administration is over-spending–it is not true that the spending for the war is the problem.

    The competing option of promoting the spending habits of Obama who wants to slash the military and place a bigger chunk of taxpayer money in the black-hole of global warming theology is a threat we should all fear. Bringing terrorists to justice–even temporarily before our warped legal system releases them to do more killing– is a social good while dumping untold billions into the global warming cult has zero redeeming value.

    Bush tax policies have actually increased the amount of money paid by the upper 10% which might make any “soak the rich advocate” proud. Instead, we are told that President Bush wants to give money to his friends and this is a slur and a complete falsehood. I might agree that the nation should feel more pain in paying for an increased military threat since the military was slashed by Clinton to pay for a balanced budget. Today, effectively 50% of taxpayers pay nothing while the top 10% pay almost 70%–an obvious inequity that is greeted by Dems who want the top 10% to pay ever more–without regard to the fact that higher tax rates will substantially reduce the pile of cash Bush has generated from the rich for the federal treasury.

    Conservation is a laudable goal. It is curious that the Left sees the merits of conservation when it comes to energy use and everyone agrees. But when it comes to Federal spending for all kinds of nonsense–no conservation of capital is seen as a public good.

    The war against the Islamists presents no challenge for an increase in funding, rather, a desired re-ordering of national priorities. Here, McCain could actually be useful if he has the good fortune of being elected.

    Charles Hall wants to know what is involved in confronting evil. Force. This is why Obama presents such a happy state of affairs for the terrorists. He wants to talk, he wants to blame us and he wants greater “understanding.” That is to say, he wants to threaten us,, he wants to increase the likelihood that we will be victimized. He wants to take our country down because he does not like America as the one, great superpower. Frederick the Great once said that “diplomacy without force is like music without instruments.”

  14. SM says:

    This article takes an extreme position about the danger to Israel and combines it with an extreme position about a candidate in a non-Israeli election. Then it attempts to link the two by pointing to an independent newspaper, as if that were sufficient. The paucity of the argument is demonstrated by its reasoning.

    It is time that we recognised that compassion – even for Palestinians and Arabs, who strangely we are unable to recognise as worthy of it, almost as if they were not quite human – does not equate to hatred for us. Are we so locked into our own claustrophobic world that we are unable to perceive others as we would wish others to perceive us? Is that what being the victims of demonisation has done for us?

    We are so keen to see ‘evil’ in the world that we are like the boy who cried wolf. When real evil happens no one will listen to us. We would do better focussing on the pleasure and goodness of the world which was created for us and the things that unite us.

    If Hamas want Obama (and why should we believe them when we say it? Do we only believe them when it is convenient to our argument to do so?) then he has more chance than anyone else of trying to persuade them to stop the violence. Neither he nor anyone else will teach them to love us. Who needs that – stopping the violence will do just fine.

    So why are we afraid of that? Perhaps because we will then have to undertake the difficult task of rethinking our own reflexive stance, currently justified by the other side’s intransigence. That is a challenge. This article ducks it by essentially wishing to maintain all Arabs as an absolute enemy.

    I have lost people in this conflict. That type of thinking is a recipe for more people to be like me. It is ultimately selfish and cowardly. Courage is not saying ‘never’. Courage is wanting to change things and helping create the conditions in which change can take place. Even if ‘they’ will never change, we have to be ready.

  15. Charles B. Hall, PhD says:

    “From your perch in the Bronx, I’ve no doubt you think Obama will win”

    I do live in the Bronx, where Kerry got 83% of the vote. In neighboring Manhattan, Kerry got 82%. Why do you think that this area, which was directly attacked, cast such a huge no-confidence vote against President Bush? (The other place directly attacked also voted strongly for Kerry — he got 68% of the vote in Arlington County, Virginia.)

    “Charles Hall fails to appreciate the fact that our government spends a whole heck of a lot of money on things other than national defense and that the price of another terror attack to our economy is many times greater than an effort to prevent another attack.”

    Actually, I do appreciate it. I’m not convinced President Bush or Sen. McCain do, however, as they are both placing tax cuts as a higher priority. (For McCain, this reflects a policy change, a “flip-flop” if you were.) And if you look at the real outlays for the federal government, there isn’t really a lot of money that can be saved. I prepared a more detailed post on that issue, but it is really off topic. My main point is that there is little call from any point in the American political spectrum for the shared sacrifice and unity — yes, including tax increases — that will likely be necessary for this effort. Franklin Roosevelt gave up his domestic agenda and appointed prominent Republicans as Secretaries of War and the Navy. President Bush
    did nothing of the kind (Secretary of Transportation doesn’t count!), and I see little evidence that Sen. McCain will do so, either.

  16. Bob Miller says:

    In case we ever wondered how the country would function without a President, this guy might, G-d forbid, show us how.

  17. LOberstein says:

    This is a very heavy exchange. It seems that Orthodox Jews put all their enthusiasm into whatever political viewpoint they espouse. I don’t know who is right, but I don’t think the sky will fall either way.I am very disapointed with McCain’s campaign so far, he is not running a winning campaign. I am impressed by Obama’s ability to draw in many new voters and many new finacial supporters, he is a 21st century candidate running against an aging war horse. Does being the better candidate make him the best one to be President? No, but that is how our system works.
    I like McCain but I am not distraut that our next President will most likely be Obama. The problems the USA faces are very systemic and require new thinking. We are sinking financially because of our overdependency on foreign energy sources and our declining achievements in science and technology. We are getting fat and lazy and no longer willing to do whatever it takes to be the world’s leader. Maybe Obama will be a breath of fresh air and help the US regain respect in the world. One thing I can say with certainty, those who write so harshly about Obama are wrong. He isn’t as bad as you say, he is also not as good as his promoters say he is. He is just a charismatic,articulate ,fellow who was discovered by some “handlers’ and is being expertly marketed. In other words, he is the kind of person that our system now produces, no more, George Washingtons.

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